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Once Mercedes-Benz Stadium is finished, the Georgia Dome will be torn down and will be replaced by a park. The 13-acre space will be for tailgating on game days and open to the public when the new stadium is not in use.

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Fired Gwinnett County Police Officer Asks For His Job Back

Apr 21, 2017
Gwinnett County Police Department

A Gwinnett County police officer fired after authorities said a video showed him hitting a man in the face during a traffic stop wants his job back.

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Mike Puglise, a lawyer for Michael Bongiovanni, says the former Gwinnett police sergeant this week asked the human resources department to reinstate him. Puglise says Bongiovanni's request will be reviewed by the county merit board.

JamesDeMers / Pixabay

Georgia's hunters and fishers will see an uptick in licensing fees come July 1.

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Gov. Nathan Deal will sign a bill on Tuesday that will increase the fee to buy a hunting or fishing license to be on par with surrounding states. For example, hunting licenses that are currently $10 will be $15.

Right now, Georgia has some of the lowest prices in the Southeast. That's according to a state audit from November 2016.

MARTA Gets Stalled Concessions Program Back On Track

Apr 21, 2017
The entrance to the MARTA station near underground Atlanta
Brenna Beech / WABE

New legislation passed during the recent session of the General Assembly makes way for MARTA to expand its concessions program. According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, MARTA officials will survey customers to find out what types of businesses and services they would like to see set up shop in rail stations.

Alison Guillory / WABE

First, the bad news: When it comes to trash, the average American reportedly produces more than 4 pounds of it per day. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 220 million tons of waste, more than half of which ends up in one of more than 3,500 landfills across the country.

Civil rights activist and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. is introduced before speaking at the unveiling of a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Friday, Aug. 23, 213, at the Newseum in Washington.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

The work and achievements of civil rights leader and longtime Congressman John Lewis of Georgia have been recognized by Time magazine. He made its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

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The 2017 list, released Thursday, recognizes artists, activists, athletes, leaders and executives who have worked to change and influence the world.

JIM BURRESS / WABE

The term "affordable" can take on different meanings depending on whom you ask. Also, quality and affordability are not always one in the same. That's something Mechanicsville Cityside is trying to change. It's an entire neighborhood in Southwest Atlanta designed to provide low-income families with the chance to own their own home. 

In this installment of "Closer Look's" affordable housing series, co-host Jim Burress visits the neighborhood to learn how public-private partnerships and tax credits, make this possible.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed refused to answer questions about the lawsuit and walked away from reporters.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has named a new city attorney.

 

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In a news release Thursday, Reed announced that Jeremy Berry will assume the position of the city's top legal officer, replacing Cathy Hampton who plans to step down May 19.

 

Reed didn't say when he would begin the new job.

 

Atlanta City Council Begins Hearings On FY 2018 Budget

Apr 20, 2017
City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta University Center Consortium leaders announced the launch of a new camera surveillance program. The president of Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, is pictured right.
Al Such / WABE

Atlanta City Council members on Thursday began examining outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed's budget proposal for fiscal year 2018.

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The first draft of the budget was $2.5 billion, already $30 million more than the current year. The general fund portion of Reed's proposed budget is $637 million.

Dario Lopez-Mills / Associated Press

Georgia has issued a birth certificate for a toddler with the last name "Allah" after initially declining to do so because that doesn't match either of the parents' last names, a civil rights group that sued on behalf of the parents said Thursday.

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The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the new March jobless metro Atlanta was 5.9 percent. That is down from 6.1 percent in February and 7 percent from March 2014.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Good news for job seekers in Georgia.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

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Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says this is the lowest that rate has fallen to since December 2007.

Atlanta Expands Its Relay Bike Share Program

Apr 19, 2017
New bikes part of the bike share expansion.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

More blue bikes are hitting the streets of Atlanta.

The blue bicycles are part of Atlanta's Relay Bike Share program. And as of Wednesday, there are 500 Relay bikes available in the city, which is up from just 100. 

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For the past two decades, Anne (who chose not to give her last name because she fears retribution from her landlord) has lived in the same two-bedroom apartment in Buckhead. It's a brick building just off of Peachtree Street. In 1995, Anne began renting her apartment for just $600 per month. Now, 22 years later, her rent has increased and she is concerned about her ability to stay there.

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Susanna Capelouto / WABE

The man accused of starting a fire that caused a section of Interstate 85 in Atlanta to collapse has been released from jail after posting bond.

WSB-TV reports that Basil Eleby was released from Fulton County Jail on Wednesday. Eleby was issued a $10,000 signature bond by a judge during a hearing Tuesday.

The judge told Eleby not to go near the collapsed overpass except with his attorneys.

Eleby faces charges of arson and criminal damage to property. He was jailed March 31, the day after the collapse.

Mary-Pat Hector held a press conference Thursday about potentially being disqualified a month into her campaign. She is 19 years old and a student at Spelman College.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

A 19-year-old candidate for a council seat in a newly formed city in Georgia has lost the runoff election.

 

News outlets report that Mary-Pat Hector, a sophomore at Spelman College, narrowly lost Tuesday to George Turner Jr., a retired MARTA manager. Turner received 867 votes to Hector's 845.

 

Hector had finished second to Turner is a five-way race March 21, prompting the Tuesday runoff.

 

Man Accused In I-85 Overpass Fire Pleads Not Guilty

Apr 18, 2017
Fulton County Jail via AP

Basil Eleby, the homeless man accused of starting the March 30 fire that caused the I-85 overpass to collapse, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Fulton County Court. 

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Eleby was charged with arson and criminal damage to property. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville ordered Eleby's release on a $10,000 signature bond. Eleby will soon move to Michael & Michael Counseling and Consulting LLC, a substance abuse treatment facility.

Mercedes Benz Stadium under construction
Alison Guillory / WABE

The planned opening of the $1.5 billion Mercedes Benz Stadium has been delayed by ongoing roof construction.

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The CEO of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank's businesses says there are no concerns about the "operability" of the roof. Steve Cannon said the delay is a "timeline" issue with ongoing steelwork.

The new opening date of the stadium is now the Atlanta Falcons' August 26 preseason game against Arizona.

Atlanta Braves v NY Mets: Turner Field  Outside Atlanta's Turner Field on September 30, 2012
Charles Atkeison / flickr.com/CharlesAtkeison

Neighborhoods around Turner Field could soon benefit from the sale of nearby city-owned properties, according to legislation the Atlanta City Council approved Monday.

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The bill would send money from sales into a trust fund that could be used for affordable housing or job training.

Council Member Alex Wan said the redevelopment of Turner Field warranted the new law.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

 

The year 2014 should have been a great one for Ron Laster. He and his wife had just bought a house.

Then he got injured. And that same year, his boss died. He'd been a touring musician with James Brown for 27 years. The Lasters called around to relatives for help as bills piled up, but the mortgage payments were too much. That’s when they saw a TV commercial.

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Downtown Connector
Alison Guillory / WABE

Police say drivers of a tractor-trailer and SUV are facing charges involving a crash that caused a chemical spill on the Downtown Connector in Atlanta.

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Local news media reports the tractor-trailer spilled a hazardous chemical called Benzoyl Chloride. The spill shut down all lanes for hours on the north side of the interstate Monday morning.

 

The lanes were reopened.

 

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press file

An effort to reduce penalties for marijuana possession has stalled in Atlanta.

The City Council decided it wasn’t ready to vote on the legislation Monday.

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The ordinance from council member Kwanza Hall has been in the works for months. It would make less than an ounce of marijuana possession a fine-only offense.

That is, under Atlanta law.

What still worried council members, like Keisha Lance Bottoms, was that stiff penalties would remain under state law.

 In this Sept. 29, 2014 file photo, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announces a March 6, 2012 date, as Georgia's 2012 presidential primary at a news conference in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

On a day when Georgia is taking part in a special election that has national implications, news of voting equipment being stolen is likely the last thing most want to hear.

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But Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp found out about just that two days after equipment was stolen from a car in Cobb County and issued a statement saying that was "unacceptable."

Courtesy of GDOT

Atlanta commuters caught a break Tuesday morning: Repair work on Interstate 20 was completed a few hours ahead of schedule.

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Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Natalie Dale originally expected I-20 to be reopened around noon, but shortly after 6 a.m., all westbound lanes of the roadway were repaired.

All westbound lanes around Candler and Gresham roads were shut down for hours after part of the roadway buckled Monday.

Congress Holding Up Bill To Create MLK Jr. National Park

Apr 17, 2017
Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta has been closed for several months for repairs, and on Tuesday visitors were allowed to tour only the first floor.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The U.S. Congress keeps holding a bill that would reclassify the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site as a national park. 

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) has been introducing the Martin Luther King Junior National Historic Park Act since 2013. The bill passed the House last year and this year, but it remains stuck in a Senate committee. 

Courtesy of GDOT

A section of Interstate 20 Westbound near Flat Shoals Rd. is closed after a portion of the highway buckled. 

DeKalb County police say an underground gas leak is causing the defect in the roadway, and advise motorists to seek alternate routes.

A motorcyclist was hurt when the road buckled, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Monday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress": 

COURTESY OF REDIT USER FISCALREPORTS

Two lanes of Interstate 20 westbound between Candler and Gresham roads have reopened after part of the highway buckled Monday morning.

State transportation officials say they're hoping to get all lanes of I-20 fixed by Tuesday at noon.

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Natalie Dale, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said in a news conference Monday afternoon that the agency was assessing the stability of lanes near the buckling in preparation for the reopening of some lanes.

The Atlanta Police Department is investigating the accident that caused a chemical spill early this morning.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta traffic keeps taking a hit, two weeks after the collapse of the I-85 bridge.

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Early Monday morning, several hours before Interstate 20 was closed after buckling near the Gresham Road exit, the Downtown Connector was shut down due to an accident that spilled toxic chemicals onto the road.

President-elect Donald Trump calls to media from the entryway of Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 in Bedminster, N.J..
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

President Donald Trump on Monday attacked his political enemies seeking an upset in Georgia's special congressional election, blasting the leading Democratic candidate as a "super liberal" who "wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!"

Gwinnett County Police Department

An attorney is calling for the two Georgia police officers who were fired after being caught on camera having a violent confrontation with a motorist to face criminal charges.

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